Portland Pirates radio play-by-play announcer Mark Jeanneret is getting a taste of the big time.
Next week, Jeanneret, in his second season as the radio voice of the AHL team, will handle play-by-play for two games on both radio and television on the Buffalo Sabres Hockey Network.
Jeanneret will fill in for his father, Rick Jeanneret, when the Sabres, the Pirates’ NHL parent, play games in Alberta next week against the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers.
“As my dad has gotten on in years, he’s complained about the travel, so the last couple of years, he’s started taking off the long trips, the West Coast trips,” said Jeanneret, who also serves as director of team services for the Pirates.
His father has served as the play-by-play announcer for the Sabres since 1971.
Jeanneret will leave Christmas Day for his NHL gig. He hopes to return in time to broadcast the Pirates’ game Dec. 29 against the Connecticut Whale at the XL Center in Hartford.
During Jeanneret’s absence, WLOB 95.5 FM will pick up the radio feed from the opposing team for its Pirates’ broadcasts.
Sunday night, Eric Lindquist will handle the play-by-play when the Pirates play the Worcester Sharks at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.
Tuesday night, Kevin Boryczki will handle the play-by-play when the Pirates host the Providence Bruins.
Brian Demoree will continue as the studio announcer for the Pirates’ pregame and postgame shows and during intermissions. He will be assisted by Chris Roy from the Maine Hockey Journal website.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to get my feet wet to call a couple of NHL games,” Jeanneret said. “This will fill my resume a little bit more and hopefully put in the right position when a position in the NHL becomes available.”
Generally, during radio broadcasts of the Pirates games, Jeanneret works alone, providing both play-by-play and color commentary.
In his television work for the Sabres, Jeanneret will be part of a broadcast team.
Harry Neale, a former player and coach, provides color analysis for the Sabres games, which broadcast simultaneously on television and radio, and Rob Ray provides on-ice commentary during games from his station between the team benches.
This season, nine of the Pirates’ home game are being televised by Time Warner Cable.
On those broadcasts, Jeanneret has teamed up with former Maine Mariner Paul Evans, who provides color commentary.
“I’ve hit it off pretty good with Paul, and I feel comfortable with him,” Jeanneret said. “It is different with a color commentator, but there is going to be a third person during the Sabres’ broadcasts.”
“I’ve been around hockey long enough to know when to shut up and let the experts talk,” said Jeanneret, who spent 12 seasons as the voice of the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters before joining the Pirates. “Obviously, with the two extra guys there, I’m not going to speak as much. I’m going to let them do some talking.”
Meanwhile, Jeanneret will bone up on the teams he will see play next week.
“In the back of my mind, I’m pretty comfortable with the Sabres. I’ll sort of concentrate on Calgary and Edmonton,” Jeanneret said. “I haven’t consulted a roster of either team yet because I have to take care of my business here. But I’m pretty comfortable. I’m a hockey fan, so I’m pretty comfortable with names and numbers.”
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: